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Authors: Carol Colbert

ghost granny

 

Ghost Granny

 

By Carol Colbert

 

Copyright 2016 by Carol Colbert

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book
may be transmitted or reproduced in any form without written
permission from the author, except for brief quoted passages for
review purposes.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination, or collective memories of people she has known in
general, put together to form various single characters, and thus,
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, unless explicitly
noted, are entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For you, Michael. May all your dreams, wishes
and desires come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover by
[email protected]

 

 

 

 

Have you ever gone to an amusement park and
noticed all the smiling faces waiting there to make your day the
best you have ever had? Ever wished you could pitch a tent and stay
in what seems like Happy- Ville U.S.A.? If you wonder why everyone
is so much more content and well-adjusted than you are, well, my
friend, to you I say, take a seat.

Sit down on that bench and take a good long
look. Did you see it? Did you notice the smirk on the man’s face as
the heavy set woman purchases an ice cream sundae? The quick look
of sadness that passed between husband and wife as the pair of
lovebirds walked by holding their children’s hands? The envy in the
man’s eyes as the Cadillac parked next to his old junky vehicle? We
hide it well, but for how long?

That was my world – and then we took a
walk-about. You never know what you find will if you just take the
next exit. Happy-Ville just might be a possibility, if you just
take the road less traveled.

CHAPTER 1

 

 

“Mommy, Brian said that I am between a rock
and a hard place. What should I do about that?” Four year old Cody
asked his mom.

Catherine looked at her son and wished she
could come up with a true answer for his dilemma, whatever that may
be today. She fanned her hand out over the grass where she and her
son were sitting in front of their trailer. Her hand brushed over a
pebble and she picked it up and handed it to him. “You trade the
rock!” Cody started to laugh and soon he had Catherine laughing as
well.
I wish I could solve all of his troubles as
easily.

Catherine and Cody shared a sandwich and
were enjoying being outside until the first raindrop fell. “Momma,
the angels are telling me it’s time to take a bath!” “Well then, we
had better get to it.” Catherine said, gathering the remains of
their picnic lunch.

As his mom was washing Cody’s hair he said
“When are we going to move into the place with the real bathtub
mom?”

“Next weekend, Cody. We will finally have a
bigger place to lay our heads.” Catherine told him.

“That is a good thing, mom, because my head
feels like it’s been growing a lot lately.”

Catherine had a new job as a secretary for
Mr. Dobbs at the real estate office. She had saved every penny she
could and now she and Cody would be able to move out of her uncle’s
trailer and into a one bedroom apartment, nearer to her job. Uncle
John had let her and Cody live there rent free since they were his
only living relatives. It was old and shabby, but the price was
right and even before this new job, Catherine had been able to save
some money from her sales associate job at the hardware store.

An added bonus was Mrs. Roans who had the
trailer next to theirs. She watched Cody while Catherine was at
work in exchange for some light housekeeping and laundry. She
promised Catherine that she would come to their new apartment and
watch Cody while Catherine was at her new job as well. Cody was
happy with that arrangement because he loved Mrs. Roans, but also
because he thought he was there to take care of Mrs. Roans. He
would change the TV channel for her and feed her cat and Mrs. Roans
always made him red jello. It was an agreement that made everyone
happy and feeling useful.

On the day of their move Cody had gotten up
very early and made double sure that all of his possessions were
packed. The furniture in the old trailer was not worth transporting
to the new apartment and Catherine was able to pick up some second
hand furniture pieces at the Salvation Army. They had their beds,
table and chairs and one couch. They shared the dresser that
Catherine’s co-worker at the hardware store had given to her and,
partially due to the lack of furnishings, Cody thought their
apartment was king-sized.

“Do you like our new home, Cody?” Catherine
asked, plugging in the TV set. “I sure do, mom! We traded in the
rock!” Cody said, using the catch phrase he had begun to use to as
a way of saying they had found a solution to whatever was troubling
them. “Yes we did, son, yes we did.” Catherine smiled, hugging
him.

Catherine did well at the real estate office
and Mr. Dobbs had given her extra duties and responsibilities which
Catherine was happy to get and it wasn’t long before Catherine was
able to furnish their apartment with a couple of pieces of newer
furniture. Mrs. Roans continued to watch Cody until he started
school. After that, since the hours were much less, Mrs. Roans
found another child to baby-sit for and Catherine utilized the
Latch Key Program at Cody’s school. With the money she was saving
by not having to pay Mrs. Roans, Catherine was able to add to their
savings account.

Cody grew tall and strong and when he was
ten years old his mom picked him up from school on a Friday and as
soon as they got home she said “Cody – walk- about ten!” Cody
laughed, he was always up for a new catch phrase to share with his
mom. He made a big show of walking back and forth in front of his
mother with a big grin on his face. “Am I doing it right, mom?”

“A walk-about is another way of saying the
word ‘vacation’. I believe people in Australia use that phrase when
they are going somewhere.”

“A vacation? “Cody said, his eyes wide. “We
haven’t ever gone on a vacation! What does the ten mean?” “It means
we are leaving in ten minutes!” Catherine told him. “Your clean
clothes are on your bed, put them into your suitcase and we are
outta here!” “Yea!” Cody said, “You are the best mom, ever!”

Catherine was as happy as her son was. To
finally be giving him something special to remember meant a lot to
her. Cody was a good kid, very polite and loving. She had wished
she could give him a puppy, but the apartments allowed no pets and
with them gone so much of the day at work and school, it wouldn’t
be right to lock a puppy or kitten in the apartment all alone so
many hours every day.

Cody grabbed a big garbage bag and started
throwing all of his clothes and his mother’s clothes into it. He
had misunderstood his mom and thought she had told him that they
were going to Australia on vacation. Cody didn’t know where that
was, but he knew it was far away, so he wanted them to be
prepared.

Catherine and Cody set off on their
walk-about. Cody didn’t ask how long it would take to go where they
were going. He was happy and enjoyed singing with his mom to the
radio. They drove for a little over an hour and a half before the
weather changed. The skies got very dark and the rain started to
come down in sheets. It wasn’t long before they heard booms of
thunder and saw long lightening streaks in the sky. Catherine’s car
was running O.K., but it was twelve years old and the wiper blades
had never been changed as far as she remembered. When a big truck
passed them and splashed a large amount of water right onto their
front windshield, Cody screamed.

Catherine was unfamiliar with this area, but
she did not want to risk driving any further with her and Cody
being alone. She pulled off onto the next exit and drove for about
five miles before she saw signs of a little town. Saying a prayer
of thanks, Catherine pulled into a big hotel to spend the night.
It is only for one night, we can’t continue driving in this
mess. I have my credit card with me.

“How would you like to go swimming, Cody?”
Catherine asked.

“In this rain? Besides, it is too cold to go
swimming, mom, it’s October.”

“This hotel has a swimming pool inside, so
it won’t be too cold.” Catherine said. Cody had a big smile on his
face and it made Catherine’s heart swell. They checked into their
room. Catherine winced at the amount per night the hotel charged,
but was glad to see that breakfast was included in the price. They
changed into their swimsuits and went down to the pool. Cody and
his mom tossed a yellow beach ball back and forth to each other
until some other children came and wanted to play. Catherine told
Cody to keep playing and having fun. She sat on the edge of the
pool and had her legs dangling into the water. Cody played with the
other children, a big smile never leaving his face.

After a couple of hours Catherine asked Cody
if he was hungry. “I sure am mom, what did we bring?” “It is a
surprise, let’s go back to the room and change.” They walked back
to their room and took turns taking quick showers and when they
were dressed, Cody looked around the room. “Want me to get the
picnic basket from the car, mom? It stopped raining.” Cody said,
looking out their window.

“I didn’t bring the picnic basket with us,
Cody.”

“That’s O.K. mom.” Cody said. “I am too
tired to eat anyway. That water ball was hard work!” Catherine
smiled at her son and realized that she and Cody had really never
gone to a restaurant to eat a meal, unless you count the
drive-through at McDonalds or Wendy’s. When they would go out, she
would pack sandwiches and fruit in their picnic basket. No wonder
Cody was trying to put on a brave face, he was hungry, but thought
his mother accidently left their food behind.

“Come with me, little man.” Catherine
laughed. The weather outside had cleared up remarkably well for the
short time they had been in the town. They drove to a family
restaurant a few blocks down and went in. Cody asked his mother
“Mom, are we rich now?” “We are always rich, because we have each
other. What would you like to eat? You can pick out anything you
want.” After great deliberation Cody finally decided on fish and
chips and a big piece of chocolate cake for desert.

Catherine felt a cold puff of air rush past
her and she rubbed her arms. “You can tell I am not used to a lot
of air conditioning. I wonder why they would have it on in October.
Are you cold, Cody?” Cody shook his head no, too busy getting the
last bit of chocolate icing into his mouth and washing it down with
his milk.

Catherine noticed a very odd woman, looking
at her and smiling. The lady looked to be in her seventies and had
a long blue dress on and gray hair tied up to the top of her head
in a bun. She was short and plump, but what stood out was the
woman’s big backside. It was almost comically oversized for a woman
her size and age.

Catherine returned the smile and then looked
at her son. “Have you had enough to eat and drink, Cody, or are you
still hungry?”

‘I am stuffed!” He said. When Catherine
looked back up, the lady was gone.

Catherine asked their server for their bill
and the server smiled and said “All taken care of.” Catherine
looked at her and tried to explain. “No, we haven’t received our
bill yet, how much do we owe you?” Their waitress said “I am quite
sure the bill has already been taken care of, but let me check.”
She walked to the cash register and Catherine and Cody followed
behind her.

“Yes, see, here it is – Table ten.” The
server showed Catherine where everything they had ordered was
written down, the cost and that it was already paid. “But I haven’t
paid the bill, there is a mistake.” The young server insisted that
the bill was already paid, no, she did not ring it up herself, but
that she could not take double payment for a meal. Catherine
started to take out two dollars while saying “Let me at least give
you the tip.” “Already taken care of, see?” She showed Catherine
the receipt which had a much bigger tip on it than Catherine was
prepared to offer. Catherine told her that she would check with the
restaurant tomorrow after they have had time to close out their
receipts for the night, just to make sure, and felt rather guilty
walking out to their car.

Cody and Catherine put their pajamas on and
then rented a children’s movie from the hotel’s cable system. They
did not have cable in their apartment. It seemed like an
extravagant expense. They liked to work puzzles and to read and
play card and board games. It gave them time to reconnect after
their day.

“Mom, this has been the best walk-about
ever! Thank you, you are the best mom in the whole wide world!”
Cody said, hugging his mother tightly.

Chapter 2

 

 

The next morning Catherine and Cody took
advantage of the hotel’s free breakfast buffet and both ate more
than they thought they could after their big dinner the night
before.

They decided to take a walk around the
quaint little town. When they passed a shop that sold sewing
material Cody said “Mom, look! Halloween is coming soon, can we get
some material for my costume?” Catherine had always made Cody’s
Halloween costumes even though she was no seamstress, not by a very
long shot. “Not today, Cody.” Catherine answered him.

“That’s O.K. mom, we have time. I am not
even sure what I want to dress up like this year anyway.”

They walked up to a crowd of people on a
hill. “Wonder what is going on here?” Catherine said. She then
noticed a sign that said “Pumpkin mile - $3.00.” Catherine and Cody
walked up to a lady who was sitting behind a table taking money and
handing out small pumpkins. “Excuse me, we are just visiting, what
is the pumpkin mile?”

“Oh, it’s not really a mile, just down the
hill. Three kids at a time get to roll their pumpkin down Luna’s
Hill here and the one who knocks into the big Luna, wins.”

“And the pumpkins are $3 each?” Catherine
inquired. “Yes, and the kids are matched according to age, wouldn’t
be fair if a teenager was playing against a five year old. Would
you like your son to participate?” Cody’s eyes grew big when she
looked at him. “Why not? One fast pumpkin, please!” Cody was so
happy, he hugged his pumpkin to his chest as they continued up the
hill to the top. There he only had minutes to wait before they
motioned him to put on the sticker with the number on it that they
marked on his pumpkin with black marker as well, take his place and
get ready to roll the pumpkin down the hill.

Catherine didn’t have a clear view of what
was at the bottom of the hill, so she kept her eyes on her son.
“Good luck, Cody! You got this!” She cheered him on. Cody got into
position and had a look of purpose on his face.

One – Two – Three – ROLL! The man in charge
yelled and all three children gave their pumpkins a hearty push
down the hill. The little girl’s pumpkin took a side trip to the
right and finished it’s decent in the wrong direction, the other
little boy’s pumpkin was more on target, he had obviously done this
before.

It looked as if the other boy’s pumpkin
would win, but at the last minute it hit a rock and it jumped
somewhat and then split in two! “You won Cody! You won!” Catherine
found herself jumping up and down. Cody ran over to her and said
“Did you see that mom? It hit her right in the big ole booty!”
Catherine didn’t know what he was talking about. She noticed some
people motioning them to come down to the bottom of the hill for
Cody’s prize.

Catherine looked at the target, now lying on
its side on the grass at the bottom of the hill and she blinked. It
was a bigger than life sized cut out of the lady she had seen last
night in the restaurant, the one with the blue dress. As Cody had
already told her, the pumpkin looked like it had smashed right into
her very abundant butt!”

The man who had motioned her down the hill
wore a big funny hat and he was now handing her an envelope and
shaking Cody’s hand. Someone was there taking a picture of them and
there were smiles all around. Cody and Catherine thanked everyone
and told them how much fun it had been.

They then walked over to the pumpkin pie
booth and each ordered a big piece of pie with whipped cream on
top. When Catherine took out her wallet the lady in the booth said
“Oh no, your money is no good here! Your little feller is the
winner today! Enjoy!” She said, handing them the pie and each a
bottle of cold water.

Catherine and Cody walked over to the
nearest picnic table and sat down to enjoy their pie. “I am so
proud of you Cody! First time you have ever done that! I bet most
of these kids who were playing live near here and get to do this
every year and yet you beat them all!”

“Can we come back here every year?” Cody
asked. “Maybe, it’s not all that far from home. I’ve never been to
this area of the state before. Look at that beautiful lake, Cody.
Let’s walk over there after we finish our pie. It is such a
beautiful day.”

Cody and Catherine went back to their room
and Catherine started packing up their overnight suitcases. This
had been a special night and day for them and she was overjoyed
that Cody had so much fun.

“Mom – we have to go back!” “Back where,
Cody? We are leaving to go back home in a couple of hours, did you
forget something at home you need?” “No, I forgot to get my prize
that I won at the hill!” Catherine had forgotten all about the
envelope the man with the big hat had handed them after the race
was over. She took the big envelope out of her purse and stuck her
hand in and pulled out a voucher.

“Just some ole piece of paper?” Cody said,
looking disappointed. Catherine read it and then turned to Cody and
smiled. “Yep, just a piece of paper, saying we have a full week
that we can stay here in this hotel – FREE! How would you like to
spend another night?”

“Cody started jumping around and punching
the air. “Yes, Yes, oh yeah!” Catherine called down to the lobby
and mentioned their prize and asked if they could keep the same
room, or would they have to move to another one since they were
originally scheduled to check out today. The front desk said no,
they were all set, enjoy and just bring the voucher whenever they
were ready to leave.

Mother and son then walked the few blocks to
the little town’s center and stopped in to get an ice cream cone.
Again, when she tried to pay, the lady in the ice cream shop told
her their money wasn’t good there, ice cream was on the house for
the pumpkin mile winners. They thanked her and walked outside to
sit on a bench and finish their ice cream. Catherine took out a
hand cleaner from her purse and a wash cloth and they cleaned off
their hands. They then continued their walk and came to a
department store.

Catherine was in a very happy mood. If she
didn’t have to pay for the hotel room that meant she could do
something special for Cody. They walked towards the Halloween
costumes and Catherine told her son to pick out what he wanted to
be that year.

Cody looked at all the Halloween costumes
before him. He took his time going through each one on the rack.
“Can I be a super hero mom?”

“You already are my super hero, Cody, you
can get any Halloween costume you want!” Cody picked out what he
wanted most – a super hero that Catherine had never heard of, but
that Cody was thrilled to dress up like. “Can I really get this
mom? I promise I will wear it next year too!” Catherine looked at
the price of the costume. $45.00, there would be no way she could
afford that in her everyday world, but not having to pay for the
hotel and with the free daily breakfast the hotel offered, she
decided to splurge. Catherine put the costume on her credit card
and they left the store smiling.

Catherine and Cody walked back to their
hotel and decided to go down to the pool since it did not look very
busy when they walked past it on the way to their room. When they
got into the elevator Catherine thought she saw a puff of blue
smoke right before they entered. “Hold up, Cody.” She said, looking
all around the inside of the elevator, but seeing nothing out of
the ordinary. A couple walked up and asked “Going down?”

Cody was having fun splashing in the
children’s pool while Catherine sat watching him. What a wonderful
time they were having. It might be another year before they would
be able to get away for a weekend again so she was determined to
have fun with Cody.

Cody got out of the pool on the other side
from where Catherine was sitting. He started running towards her.
Just has she was going to yell for him to stop running, Cody
slipped on the wet surface and started to fall. Catherine jumped up
and was going to run to her son, when a blue mist formed in front
of her eyes. “Cody!” She yelled. Catherine wiped her eyes with her
hand and when she could see again saw Cody right in front of her,
upright and smiling.

“Cody! I thought for sure you were going to
fall! You should never run like that around a pool where you could
slip on all the water! You scared me!” She told her son.

“She caught me.” Cody said. Catherine looked
around, ready to thank whomever it was that helped her son, but she
saw no one. “Who helped you, Cody?” Cody also looked around and all
they saw was an oversized blue beach ball. “I guess it was that
ball, mom, I thought I was falling, but then all of a sudden that
big blue ball rolled and it kept me from hitting the cement.”
Catherine looked at the ball that she had not noticed before when
they arrived at the pool.

“I think maybe we should call it a night,
Cody, what do you think?” “O.K.” Catherine turned right before they
exited out the door and looked at the pool, the big blue ball was
gone.

“How does pizza sound for diner, Cody?”
“Pineapple and ham?” Cody asked her hopefully. “Pineapple and ham
it is!” Catherine answered. They got in the car and drove to the
town’s little pizza shop. When they walked in they found a young
man holding a pizza box and his supervisor, who was not all that
much older than the other boy. The slightly older boy said “Now
what? We will never be able to sell that pizza, you should have
known someone was calling in as a prank. Well, you can have it,
just be more careful when you take orders on the phone.”

“I don’t want it, I don’t like this kind.”
The delivery boy said to his boss. “Oh, excuse me, may I help you?”
Said the supervisor, turning to Catherine.

“Yes, please, we would like a medium cheese,
ham and pineapple pizza.” The two young men looked at each other
and laughed. “If you don’t have pineapple….” Catherine started to
say. “Oh no, that is not it – someone ordered this pizza and when
we went to deliver it, there was no one at that address. It is
cheese, ham and pineapple! We don’t usually get many orders like
that. We use the pineapple on a fruit desert pie we are
experimenting with. Here, it is yours, on the house!” “Oh I
couldn’t, let me pay for it.” Catherine said.

“You would be helping me out actually. We
are just closing and the register has already been counted. I
should have locked the door ten minutes ago. Here, please, take the
pizza.” The supervisor said.

Catherine thanked the two young men and she
and Cody walked out to their car. “This is very strange, Cody.” She
said, but Cody was looking out the window and didn’t appear to hear
his mother, so she let it go.

Catherine and Cody were working a new puzzle
they brought from home and finishing up their pizzas when Catherine
noticed her cell phone on the table. “Oh Cody, I forgot my phone
when we left.” She checked through her cell and found that there
were two messages. One from her boss, Mr. Dobbs, saying that his
mother had slipped and fell. She was O.K., but that he was going to
close the office for a week so he could go visit her. He added that
of course he would pay her for the week since this was so sudden.
The second was from Cody’s school. Apparently, a hot water pipe
broke and had flooded the main floor of the school so classes were
suspended for at least the next several days.

Catherine picked up the hotel room phone and
pushed the button for the Front Desk. “Hi, this is room 340, the
one with the week’s free stay gift voucher? Our plans have changed
and I would like to take full advantage of the gift after all.
Thank you!

Mother and son hi-fived.

 

Chapter 3

 

 

Catherine watched her son devour his ham and
cheese omelet and felt at peace with the world. What a treat it was
to spend this time with him without having to rush and get to
school and work.

Today Catherine wanted to explore more of
the town. So far they have only seen the main street area. It was
inviting and quaint. Although they had the bigger department store
at the end of the business district, most of the stores appeared to
be specialty shops that were filled with items made by the local
population. Catherine wanted to take some time today to venture out
into the neighborhoods surrounding the area they were in.

“Walk-about ten, mom?” Cody looked at
Catherine, smiling. “You got it!” “Can we stay here, mom?” Cody
asked as they walked out of the hotel and onto the main street. “It
is nice, but we probably could not afford to live here.” Cody did
not ask again, if there was one thing he understood, it was the
lack of money they had to do special things. He was very happy that
he had this time to be with his mom.

A gust of wind blew around them and it was
so sudden that neither mother nor son noticed the tinge of blue
coloring it had. Cody almost tripped, bumping against his mother.
“Oh, your shoe has come untied.” They were next to a bench, so Cody
sat down and Catherine bent down to tie his shoe for him. “I can
tie my own shoes, mom.” Cody protested. “I know, but I like doing
small things for you.” She answered him. When Catherine put her
hand on the bench to help her stand back up, she noticed a
newspaper that had an article with the heading “Love our town?”
Catherine sat down to look at the newspaper more carefully.

The title was above the help wanted ads.
Along with the usual waitress and school teacher positions open,
was an ad which was larger than the others and had a couple of
speckles of blue glitter near it. The ad was for a house sitter for
one year. Apparently, someone was willing to let someone live in
their house for a full year while they traveled Europe. The ad said
that no outer maintenance would be required. All that would be
required in that the person take care of the owner’s cat.

Catherine was immediately intrigued and
decided to search through the rest of the advertisements and help
wanted ads. Another, stronger, gust of wind blew the newspaper out
of Catherine’s hands. Catherine asked Cody if he had seen where the
newspaper blew to. Cody pointed across the street to where the
newspaper had blown up against the door of a little shop. Taking
Cody’s hand, Catherine walked across the street and when she
grabbed the newspaper, there was a help wanted sign on the inside
of the glass window it had been pressed against.

Catherine looked up and saw the name of the
shop. Thelma’s Chocolates. There were few things that Catherine and
Cody loved more than chocolate. Catherine decided to take a chance
and they walked inside. Behind the counter stood the little woman
in the blue dress that Catherine had seen in the hotel and a couple
of other places in town. The woman smiled and said “Welcome to
Thelma’s Chocolates.” Catherine returned her smile. “Hello, my name
is Catherine and this is my son, Cody. I believe we have seen each
other around town, but have never met. Are you Thelma?”

“I am Thelma’s sister. The lady looked at
Cody and said “I have a raspberry chocolate truffle with your name
on it!” Cody smiled and looked at his mother for permission to take
the offered candy. Catherine nodded and said “Thank you. I noticed
you have a help wanted sign in the window. What exactly is the
position you need help with?”

“I can be your taste tester!” Cody told the
women. This chocolate is so good! The lady in the long blue dress
smiled and said “If you want the job, it is yours! Now, to you.”
She said, looking up at Catherine. “Thelma needs someone to run
this shop while she travels. She has a young lady who comes and
actually makes the candy pieces, but it would be good if the
manager could also pitch in. Here is a book of all the candies and
their prices. Everything you might want to know or need to know is
all in his book. So, do you feel up for the job, Catherine?”

Cody looked up at his mother, silently
pleading
say yes!
“It sounds wonderful, we are just visiting
here, but I would love to make our stay more permanent. We have
been at our apartment for the past six years and our lease is
actually up this weekend. I say, yes!”

The lady in the blue dress smiled and said
“Good! It is all settled then, remember, the book holds the answers
to all of your questions.” The lady in the blue dress turned around
and her backside knocked over a stack of boxes. “Oh dear, well,
Cody, there is your first assignment.” She smiled and walked into
the kitchen which was in the back of the store behind the
counter.

Catherine waited for the lady to reappear
while she helped Cody restack the boxes. She then peaked into the
kitchen while saying “When did you need me to start work, Mrs…I’m
sorry, I didn’t catch your name.” But when Catherine walked into
the kitchen, it was empty.
How odd.

 

Just then a customer walked into the shop.
“Good afternoon, I am picking up an order for Roger.” Catherine
looked behind the counter and found a big box with the name “Roger”
on it and handed it to the lady. The woman handed Catherine $40.00
and said ‘keep the change.” Catherine knew how to run a cash
register from her days at the hardware store. She rang up the $40
and told the woman thank you when handing her the receipt.

Catherine sat down at one of the black wroth
iron table and chairs and read the book that the lady in the blue
dress had pointed out to her. Indeed it had just about everything
in there that Catherine could have asked. It had keys to the shop,
the shop hours, and even information on the local bank where her
check would be directly deposited.
I have a job, but we have no
home yet.
Catherine and Cody had a few days left to be at the
hotel, but what had she been thinking, accepting a job in this town
where she did not live?

A young lady came to the back door of
Thelma’s Chocolates and introduced herself as Isabel. She brought
in several sheets of chocolates and placed them in the
refrigerators. “You must be Catherine.” The young lady said. “Yes,
how did you know?” Catherine asked her. Luna asked me to give you
this.” She said, handing Catherine an envelope. “What is this?”
Catherine asked.

“It is the keys to 100 Enchanted.” “To,
what?” “To 100 Enchanted – the house that you are going to be
staying at. It is good that you don’t already have a home here,
this will be perfect for Thelma. You don’t have to worry about the
grass or other maintenance for the house since my brother Sebastian
takes care of all of that. Do you need help moving in?”

Catherine was almost speechless. “We don’t
really have much with us. The ad in the newspaper about the house
sitting, that house belongs to Thelma?”

“Yes, Thelma and her sister Luna own a lot
of property around here. It was nice meeting you, Catherine. The
shop is only opened a half day today, so if you need any help with
the house, let me know.”

“Thank you, Isabel.” Isabel left and the
clock on the wall chimed. Twelve o clock, the chocolate shop was to
close now. Catherine made sure the doors were locked and she and
Cody walked out into the afternoon sun. “Are we going to our new
house now, mom?” Cody asked.

“Cody, I am really overwhelmed. I don’t know
where this house is and I am not sure what I have gotten us into
here. Come to think of it, Isabel said she would help us, but I
don’t have a phone number for her or know where she lives
either.”

 

“Hello Catherine, Cody.” A man’s voice said.
Catherine looked up to see an older gentlemen standing in front of
her. “Hello, do we know you?” Catherine asked, still rattled by all
of the morning’s events. “You do now! I am Mr. Lucky, I teach
school here. I will be your teacher, Cody.”

“How do you know our names, Mr. Lucky?”

“We don’t get many newcomers, but when we do
it is always a treat. Is there anything I can help you with?”
Catherine was both relieved and cautious. “Could you tell us where
100 Enchanted is?”

“Of course – just over Luna’s hill. I would
walk with you, but I need to get back to classes. The school, by
the way, is just one half block over from here to your right. We
have a very good educational system here.”

“Thank you, Mr. Lucky, excuse me, but is
that your real last name?” “Sure is!” “It is very nice to meet you,
and thank you for your help.” Catherine said, standing up and
taking Cody’s hand. “Just over that hill, then?” “Yes, just on the
other side of Luna’s hill. Have a good day.”

Chapter 4

 

 

Catherine and Cody walked towards the hill
where the pumpkin rolling contest had been held. When they got to
the top of the hill, both mother and son stood there in awe. “Cody,
this is spectacular!” “Mom, it’s like in a movie or something!”

Walking down the other side of the hill they
saw a heavy mist-like fog hovering over a beautiful postcard worthy
scene. There was the lake to their left, straight ahead of them was
a little wooden bridge over a pond and there were two deer drinking
from it. In the distance they saw a big thatched roofed house with
a wrap-a-round porch and three miniature ponies in the yard. To
their right was a garden with a staggering amount of pumpkins
growing. To Catherine, the mist reminded her of spun sugar
surrounding the scene like looking through a panoramic Easter egg
and seeing all the beauty inside.

The sight of a tractor pulling a big cart
full of hay came into their view. Catherine watched as the tractor
pulled up to them and stopped.

“Hello, you must be Cody and Catherine. I am
Sebastian. Would you like a ride down to the house?”

Catherine could not have imagined a more
perfect scene. Not only this phenomenal view, but also Sebastian.
He was about her age, tall and muscular, had a beautiful smile and
a welcoming hand reaching out to them.

Cody ran and started climbing onto the
tractor. “Whoa, Cody, why don’t you ride in the back with your mom
for now? “

“Cody, that is too high, come sit back here
on the hay with me.” Catherine told her son. “A hay ride, wow!”
Cody laughed. Sebastian brought out portable stairs and helped
mother and son up into the wagon. “Hold on, Cody, we have some
bumps to go over.”

Catherine put her arm around her son and
held on to the railing with her other hand. The deer did not
startle as they drove over the wooden bridge and Catherine was
surprised to see how dark blue the water was and how it glittered
in the sun. She couldn’t help but stare at the back of Sebastian’s
head and strong shoulders. She was glad that the short trip was not
conducive to conversation and she used this advantage to try and
collect her thoughts.

So much had happened to them since the storm
forced them off of the expressway. It seemed like weeks ago instead
of only a few days. Everything looked perfect, but perfect was not
a word that usually defined Catherine’s world and she needed time
to wrap her head around these recent events and take time to sort
things out in her mind. This, of course, would have to wait, no one
could think straight in this setting right here and now, everything
looked magical.

Sebastian pulled up to the very large Old
English style home. He helped Cody and Catherine down and said
“Well, what you think of the place?”

“It is beyond gorgeous, but that would be
quite a long walk to get back to the hill, especially in the
winter, which is coming soon.” Catherine said.

“That is why I am here.” Sebastian said,
then adding after he noticed the look of surprise on Catherine’s
face. “I mean, that is my job here. I oversee the house and the
land and make sure the inhabitants are safe and well cared
for.”

“Do you live here too?” Cody asked. “There
is a cottage in the back and that is where my sister and I, and my
son Max live. Max is ten years old, how old are you, Cody?” “I am
ten.” “That works well, Max is at school right now, but you will
get to meet him later.”

“Could you show us the inside of the house?”
Catherine asked. “Of course, the house is hundreds of years old,
but has all of the modern hook ups and electrical outlets. The
house if fully furnished, of course, and Thelma has instructed me
to keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked.”

“For us?”

“Yes. She and Luna are very grateful that
the house will have life in it again and are eager to do anything
to keep it that way.”

“But, how did she know, how did you know,
that we would be here today? We only found out ourselves not more
than two hours ago.”

“All I know is what Luna told Isabel. Is
there anything else you need tonight? Make a list of things you
find that would will need and I will make sure that I deliver
them.”

Sebastian pointed to the big bell on the
porch with a long rope. “Just pull it down and I will be here in a
hurry.”

Catherine walked around the massive house.
It was furnished with furniture that went well with the style of
the structure. The chairs and couches were all large and
comfortable looking. The kitchen had a modern gas stove and two
large ovens, a big pine wood table with eight chairs, toaster,
coffee pot, and microwave. Just from this quick assessment,
Catherine could not imagine anything that they would need that was
not already here.

Catherine ran her hand along the rich wood
mantel of the fireplace. “Sebastian, could you take me and Cody
back to the hill now?”

“Of course, but if you are worried about
your suitcases, I can retrieve them from the hotel for you.”

“No, I would like to go back to the hotel
now and just process everything. I mean, everything seems so
perfect and I am not ungrateful. I keep wondering what the catch
is?”

All of a sudden Catherine felt a rush of
wind and saw only a white blur out of the corner of her eye.

“Speaking of the catch – there she is.
Twinkle is the true owner of this house and she is who you are here
to look after.” Sebastian said.

Twinkle had jumped up onto the back of the
chair Catherine was sitting at and then continued on to the kitchen
table where she stuck her tail up in the air and looked at the
newcomers.

“Aw, mom, she is so cute!” Cody said, rising
from his chair.

“Oh Cody, don’t pick her up, she does not
know us and it will take her time to get used to us. Sebastian,
could you show me where her food and water pans are? I’d like to
make sure she is taken care of for tonight and so I can know what
and where to feed her tomorrow. We have never had a pet
before.”

“Never at a pet, ever?” Sebastian asked,
surprised.

“No, first where we lived was way too small
for even the two of us, and the apartment where we lived did not
allow pets and we were at work and school all day so it didn’t seem
fair to lock a pet up like that all alone.” Catherine said.

Sebastian showed Catherine and Cody where
Twinkle’s food was kept and then he said “Oh, I almost forgot.” He
walked over to the big coffee table that was in front of the six
foot long couch and picked up a rather large book. “This book will
tell you everything you need to know about living here.”

 

“May we take that book back to the hotel
with us? Luna gave us a big book all about the chocolate shop and
that information is priceless. It is very thoughtful of her and
Thelma to have left us such a good guide.”

“Are you hungry? I have a big pot of beef
stew on the stove in my cottage.”

Cody and Catherine were, in fact, very
hungry. She had to stop herself from sampling the chocolates at the
shop most of the time she was there today and she knew that Cody
had to be hungry by now.

“We wouldn’t want to inconvenience you.”
Catherine said.

“Not at all, actually, Isabel made the stew
and she always makes a lot. She loves to cook, I will be right
back.” Sebastian said.